Atlanta-based Suniva bills itself as the leading American manufacturer of home solar modules, with an emphasis on American. Its new partnership with mainstream roofer PetersenDean, called Solar 4 America, also wants you to remember that.
“We made a decision at PetersenDean to only source our products from North America,” PetersenDean founder explained in the team-up’s announcement. “It is about creating our own energy policy. It is about American jobs, American panels, reinvesting in America.”
Such nationalism would seem to have little place in global warming, which is a worldwide environmental emergency. To say nothing of the globalized American economy, which is heavily based on foreign investment, consumption and production.
On the other hand, the argument for local resourcing and labor is quite strong one. Burning carbon to deliver solar panels seems counterintuitive, to be polite. OK, it actually sounds quite lame.
But is that reasonable conclusion actually converting into more demand for locally sourced solar? “From the manufacturing standpoint, requests for our Buy America-compliant product are higher than ever,” Suniva spokesperson Keryn Schneider explained in an interview.
That said, affordability is the sweet spot when it comes to accelerated solar adoption. The cheaper and easier that government and industry — both of which have made stacks of money since the greener Obama administration took office — make solar installations and leasing for families and small businesses, then the faster those significant economic drivers will buy into a zero-emissions landscape. Prices have come down far enough that homeowners can literally take power into their own hands, rather than pay someone else for it.
“Solar panel prices have dropped from $10 per watt to $1.50 per watt in the span of five years, meaning it now makes sense for those in the commercial and residential real estate sectors to buy solar power systems instead of leasing them,” explained a PetersenDean spokesperson. “Purchasing a solar power system now pencils out to 30 percent less than leasing it over the long term.”
If that math truly pans out, then it’s another fair incentive for Americans to go local, atop the usual arguments about carbon miles. As long as everyone, no matter the country, keeps an eye on the big picture which remains global. Although we desperately need our singular planet covered in solar panels, as soon possible, Solar 4 America’s nationalism nevertheless feels benign. Unlike, say, that one time on Glenn Beck…